Five-time world chess champion, Viswanathan Anand, expressed his confidence in India’s formidable chess team ahead of the upcoming Asian Games. This assertion comes in the wake of a remarkable surge in Indian chess, exemplified by recent achievements.
Indian chess enthusiasts witnessed a historic moment when, during the Baku World Cup, an unprecedented four Indian players secured berths in the quarterfinals. Notably, R Praggnanandhaa etched his name in history as the youngest player to clinch a silver medal.
Adding to the excitement, D Gukesh, a 17-year-old protege of Anand, recently dethroned his mentor as India’s No. 1 player by achieving an impressive Elo rating of 2758. This development signifies a significant milestone in Indian chess history.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Tata Steel Chess India event, Anand acknowledged the achievements of the Indian chess community. However, he cautioned against overconfidence, acknowledging formidable competitors like Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and China in the Asian Games.
Anand highlighted that India’s chess standards have now reached a global level, and credit must be attributed to the exceptional talents within the community. He underscored the importance of nurturing this talent to ensure India’s continued success on the international chess stage.
China, led by reigning world champion Ling Diren, will be among the challengers at the Asian Games. India has assembled a formidable 10-member squad in both men’s and women’s sections, featuring Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa, Vidit Gujrathi, Pentala Harikrishna, Arjun Erigaisi, GM Koneru Humpy, and Harika Dronavalli.
Anand expressed his satisfaction with the trajectory of Indian chess and commended the supportive ecosystem for young talents in India. He pointed out that the Indian junior circuit is among the world’s best, motivating young players to excel.
This remarkable upswing in Indian chess has created a golden generation of talented individuals, with teenagers dominating the scene. Anand believes this trend will continue for the next decade, elevating India’s presence in top chess tournaments worldwide.
In conclusion, Anand compared this surge in Indian chess to what Russia experienced half a century ago, highlighting the need to further enhance the women’s chess lineup. He emphasized the significance of spreading chess across the country to ensure inclusivity.
Anand’s reflections provide a glimpse into the promising future of Indian chess, with a rising generation poised to make their mark on the global stage.